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Todd Shanks - Dance Blitz

Todd Shanks has been featured in Dance, Dance Spirit, Dance Studio Life, Dance Teacher and Dancer Magazines. As a performer Todd has danced in music videos, commercials, industrials and television programs including, “The Electric Company”, Kimberly Clark, “The View”, Volvo, Ford Motors, Race for the Cure, Wrigley’s, Paramount Pictures, “Good Day NY”, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Pilsen Beer, the United Way, UFO Jeans, 1010 WINS,

Hope and Heroes, and the Lyme Disease Foundation. On stage he has performed with Synthesis Dance Project, Jette Performance Company, The Westchester Philharmonic, SDCF Dance Break, and the 2006 Miss Florida Pageant. Todd performed on field at Gillette Stadium for the 2015 and 2017 NFL Kickoff shows featuring T-Pain and Flo Rida respectively. His choreography has been seen in a commercial for BIC "Soleil" Razors and on ice for the opening number of “Stars, Stripes and Skates” staring 3- time National ice skating champion Johnny Weir. His choreography has also been featured on “The View”, ABC Nightly News, The MSG Network, NY1, CW 11, and at NYC’s Carnival, Steps on Broadway’s Faculty in Performance, Making Strides Boston, Dean College: 50 Years of Gold, Yankee FanFest and “The Game is in Us” (a Nike spec commercial). Todd was recently booked to choreograph a New Line Cinema production. Todd was on Faculty at Steps on Broadway in NYC for over a decade. He has been a guest teacher at the University of Florida, SUNY Brockport, Boston University, Skidmore College, ACDA New England, the Ailey Extension, Ballet Hispanico, Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, Dance Masters of America, Dance New Amsterdam, Florida Dance Masters and many private dance studios throughout the United States. He is currently a full time Artist in Residence at Dean College and is teaching on tour with Manhattan Dance Project and Dance Educators of America.

For more information please visit, www.toddshanks.com.


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Sandi Duncan - Dance Blitz

Sandi owned and directed Dance Productions in Woburn, MA for 9 years before coming onboard as a full-time MHDC faculty member.  She is a member of Dance Masters of America and has served as a vice president, adjudicator and choreographer for the organization. She also has adjudicated for many organizations throughout the US and Canada. Sandi received a degree in Deaf Communications and Sign Language and trained at renowned dance institutions in Chicago and New York City. She currently teaches Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Musical Theatre and preschool classes and serves as the director and creator of SUBTLE INTUITION, the resident dance ensemble at MHDC.

 Sandi’s latest endeavour, Sharing the Dance of LIFE, specializes in bringing workshops, seminars, and life-coaching to teens, women, dance educators and aspiring performing artists.


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Danny Pace - Dance Blitz

Danny Pace of Worcester, MA began dancing at a late age.  Influenced by movies and music videos, he started dancing hip-hop at age 15, and his knowledge and talents grew tremendously from that point on.  Aside from hip-hop, Danny also has a great passion for Ballroom and Latin dancing. Some accomplishments of Danny’s include dancing for Jordan Knight (of NKOTB) on his “Live & Unfinished” tour Dancing in the film “The Finest Hours.” Most recently, he has worked with Joyner Lucas on a few of his music videos, with one video including Chris Brown. 
He has further had the opportunity to train with some of the top and most respected choreographers in the dance industry.  

Danny currently teaches and incorporates his diverse knowledge and experiences of the dance industry into his classes.  He continues to train and broaden his education in his dance career.


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Katie Pustizzi – Ballet Intensive

Katie Pustizzi, Artistic Director of Aurora Borealis Dance Company, graduated Cum Laude from Salem State University with a degree in dance in 2014.   Katie has received various scholarships and awards over the years such as the “Broadway Dance Scholarship”, "Presidential Arts Scholarship", and the "Creativity Arts Award" from Salem State University; the highest honor in the Arts at the University.  Katie has danced/choreographed for many companies in the Boston area such as Harmonix Music Systems, dancing for their XBOX video game: Dance Central 2, The Adagio Dancers, The Urban Nutcracker, and more.  She is currently the sole dance faculty at the independent high school, Gann Academy, in Waltham MA.  Katie has been selected to travel to Israel in May of 2019 to study contemporary and improvisational dance with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Batsheva Dance Company, and Vertigo Dance Company as a part of Gann Academy's professional development program.  

As Founder and Artistic Director of Aurora Borealis Dance Company, Katie works with young pre-professional dancers and brings the professionalism of dance into the lives of these aspiring artists through weekly classes, rehearsals, master classes, and professional performances. Aurora Borealis Dance Company has worked with many notable companies and names such as Phillip Chbeeb, Emily Greenwell, Pilobolus Dance Theater, Ellenore Scott, The Ailey Extension, and Hannah Jane Frederick to name a few. Aurora Borealis Dance Company, now in its 7th season, is thriving under Katie’s direction, leadership, and vision.   

Katie is a sought-after master teacher and choreographer in the Boston area.  Katie's choreography has been showcased throughout New England, New York City, and Philadelphia.  Her artistically-focused contemporary and improv classes are centered around empowerment and individualized growth.  Katie creates a supportive environment in all her classes, where risk-taking and failure is welcomed, and encouragement instead of competitiveness is valued.  


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Peter Pawlyshyn - Ballet Intensive

Mr. Pawlyshyn is originally from Winnipeg, Canada. He is a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and the Pavlo Virsky Character Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. His teachers include Julia Arkos, David Moroni, Jacqueline Weber and Arlene Minkhorst.

In his career he danced numerous roles with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Louisville Ballet and Nevada Dance Theatre where he also served as Assistant Ballet Master. He appeared as Guest Artist with the Boston Ballet in John Cranko's production of Onegin.

Upon retiring, Mr. Pawlyshyn was invited to join the staff at Boston Ballet School where he spent seven years as a coach and teacher for Ballet, Character, Pas de Deux, Repertoire and Men's Variations. He was Associate Artistic Director/Ballet Master of Eugene Ballet for six years as well as School Director of the Kansas City Ballet for four years. Other teaching credits include, guest teacher at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, International Ballet Competitions in Jackson M.S., Hartford Ballet, Joffrey Ballet II, Atlanta Ballet and Cecchetti Council of America, to name a few. He has coached and restaged numerous ballets and also choreographed ballets such as Cinderella, La Boutique Fantasque, Natalia and Tango..


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Nick Neagle – Ballet Intensive

Nick Neagle holds a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College and founded the NSquared Dance Company in 2014. Nick has self-produced three shows in New York City and two domestic tours to Portland, Maine. He has shown works in over twenty five festivals and is a recurring choreographer for the Queensboro Dance Festival and the Moving Beauty Series, among others. He is also the resident choreographer for the Lower East Side Shakespeare Company, for which he was nominated for “Outstanding Choreography” in the 2016 Planet Connection Festival. His choreography also won multiple awards at the 2017 Detroit City Dance Festival. He his choreography for NSquared Dance has taken him to Seattle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and most recently St. Louis. Nick currently teaches locally in the New England area as well as NYC. For more information about Nick and the company, visit NSquaredDance.com.


Zachery Betty – Ballet Intensive

Zackery received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College with a concentration in Jazz. Mr. Betty is the Co-Artistic Director for NSquared Dance, partnering with Artistic Director, Nick Neagle. NSquared Dance is a New York City based contemporary dance company. With NSquared Dance, Zackery has toured to Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh & Baltimore. He has set various works of choreography on the company as well as taught in various cities with NSquared. As a member of NSquared Dance, Zackery enjoys working side by side with his husband and being able to share many stages and performances with him! Zackery is also a seasoned dancer with Keigwin & Co. a prestigious New York City dance company.  Keigwin & Co. has given Zackery many performing & teaching opportunities throughout the United States and Abroad. He was fortunate enough to embark on a month long exchange tour to Africa with Keigwin & Co. with additional thanks to The US State Department and Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has performed on stages such as the Joyce Theater, Symphony Space, and New York City Center. He has also been a member and guest dancer with Tami Stronach Dance, Project 44, & City Ballet of Boston. Currently Zackery resides in New Hampshire where he teaches, coaches, and choreographs locally.


Assaf Benchetrit – Ballet Intensive

Assaf Benchetrit began his dance and music studies at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel. Upon graduation, he danced with the Jerusalem Dance Theater, the Panov Ballet, and later with The Israeli National Ballet Company. During his military service, Assaf received the “Remarkable Dancer” prize from the Israeli government which allowed him to continue dancing while serving. After completing his military service, he arrived to United States to dance with companies such as The Joffrey, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Portland Ballet and Gelsey Kirkland Ballet. Throughout his career, Assaf toured through England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries. Assaf holds a joint B.S in computer science and B.F.A in dance degrees with academic honors from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A degree in dance from Hollins/ADF/Frankfurt. He was a faculty member at Yale University, Columbia University (Barnard College), Rutgers University, Montclair State University, and Raritan Valley Community College.


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Adriana Surez – Ballet Intensive

Adriana’s dance career started in New York City, where she performed as a guest artist following her training at School of American Ballet. She was quickly spotted by Bruce Marks and invited to join the Boston Ballet in 1989. She became a principal ballerina in 1994 and has performed the lead role in a wide range of classical ballets, such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker. Her contemporary repertoire includes the leading role in numerous works by George Balanchine, including Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Terpsichore in Apollo, and Serenade.

Suarez has had the pleasure of working closely with such renowned choreographers as Bill T. Jones, Mark Morris, William Forsythe, and Nacho Duato. She has performed the roles of Tatiana in John Cranko's Onegin and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and has created roles for Christopher Wheeldon's Firebird and Twyla Tharp's Waterbaby Bagatelles. Suarez created many roles for Daniel Pelzig while he was a resident choreographer at Boston Ballet. She has appeared as a guest artist in South America and Asia. In 1997, she took a leave of absence to join Oper Leipzig Ballett in Germany as a principal ballerina under the direction of Proffesor Uwe Scholz, where she performed the classics as well as many of his works. Upon returning to Boston Ballet, she continued to broaden her repertoire and teaching skills.

Her teaching experience includes Boston Ballet, Alvin Ailey School and Company, Harvard University, Ballet Hispanico, Brookline Ballet School, University of South Carolina, Green Street Studios, Festival Ballet of Rhode Island, and Regional Dance America.

Adriana joined the Boston Conservatory in 2005 and is an associate professor of dance, specializing in advanced ballet, pointe technique, Gyrokinesis®, and classical and contemporary repertoire. She has also served as rehearsal director for resident choreographers and was co-artistic director of Boston Conservatory's Summer Dance Intensive with Gianni Di Marco from 2011 to 2014. 

Suarez has lectured for the Dance Medicine Symposium at Children's Hospital and is a certified instructor in Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® methods.


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Gianni DiMarco – Ballet Intensive

Di Marco began his dance career with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where he was promoted to first soloist. He has also performed with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Opera Leipzig Ballet, Boston Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence, and Tony Williams Dance Company. His roles include Romeo and Mercutio in Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet and pas des deux in Petipa’s Don Quixote, as well as works by Balanchine, Nacho Duato, J. Kylián, Hans van Manen, Cranko, Danny Pelzig, and others.

Di Marco has choreographed more than 50 original works, including Muñecas (2009), On the Brink (2007), and In the Window (2012) for Boston Conservatory, La Rondine (2003) for the Boston Lyric Opera, and Orpheus (2012) for Boston Baroque. He has created works for Boston Ballet, including The Nutcracker (1996), Dance on the Top Floor (1998), Raw Dance (2002-2005), and various gala balls (1999-2016), as well as multiple works for Festival Ballet, including Lady of the Camellias (2016), Scheherazade (2005), and El Amor Brujo (2009). 

Di Marco has been teaching ballet and movement to children and adults since 2000. He joined the Conservatory in 2006 as an instructor in partnering and advanced ballet technique, and is a professor of dance. He also teaches somatic and advanced partnering repertoire. In 2016, he started Step by Step!, a dance program for children with autism.

In addition to Boston Conservatory, he has taught at Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education, Harvard University, University of South Carolina, and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. He was the principal of Citydance, a Boston Public Schools outreach program. In 2002, he founded Adaptive Dance with Michelina Cassella, a program for children with Down syndrome and autism, at Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education.

Di Marco is a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. He has studied with the National Ballet of Cuba and the National Ballet of Canada. He has completed Cecchetti certification (intermediate level), certification for Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis®, and certification for Burdenko water therapy.